- MOM GUILT IS REAL - so this is something that I always heard about but never really understood. For me, it is best described as this awful pit in your stomach when you really want to do something for yourself but your emotions, fear of judgement, peers, society and your mom brain make you feel as though you shouldn’t. FYI - this isn’t something that goes away! I have been back at work for almost 2 years and I still have a couple mornings a month that drop-off doesn’t go smoothly and I think “what if I’m not doing the right thing, they’re only little for such a short time.” But I get in my car because my career is important to me and the run and hug I get when I pick her up is everything!
- MISSED MOMENTS - this goes hand and hand with the mom guilt. I was always so worried about missing the moments and the milestones that come with growing up. Avery started daycare at 11 months old so I was concerned I would miss her first steps (which thankfully I didn’t) but the reality is that I got lucky there. You will miss some moments but one of my favourite times of the day now is her telling me what she did and learned today and being so excited to share it with me. It gives her some independence and the ability to share moments with me through her eyes.
- SPECIAL TIME - as I mentioned above, I keep Avery home on Fridays for a day just the two of us. We take our time getting out of bed, stay in our pj’s till noon if we want, run errands etc. and share time together with no distractions. This time is so special and since I haven’t had her most of the week we are both 100% focused on each other. Being apart through the week gives us time to miss each other and make the moments we do have that much more special.
- OPINIONS - everyone will have their own opinions on how you should parent - what to do, products to use, how to discipline, what to teach etc. but to be honest most focus on what you’re doing wrong and not what you are doing right. How you parent is your choice - take the opinions you want and don’t stress about the rest!
- ROLE MODEL - I like to think that I am a mom who yes, returned to work and uses a daycare centre but I am leading by example for my daughter that in life you can have more that one passion. You can be a great mom and a boss! If you have a passion in life, nothing should get in the way - there is a balance you just have to find it. Whether your passion includes your career, a hobby or being a mom, being happy and doing what you love comes through in who you are and that is a valuable trait to show and teach!
- For as long as I could remember, way before I had Avery, before I was married, likely before I even met Mike! I was sure that I was going to work until I had children and then that would be it for me - I would be a “stay-at-home mom.” Heck, even when I got pregnant with Avery this was still my goal. As much as I went on to love every moment I was home with Avery from day 1 to day 365, I quickly learned (probably around day 182) that I was not meant to stay at home. I was missing a very large component of what made me, me! This is the first time in my life that I made the realization that I like to work (words I thought I’d never say) but I guess when you have a love and passion for what you do then this makes sense.This being said, going back to work and not spending my days with Aves (after 9 months of literally being attached and then a year of being together every day) was NOT EASY! I had so many mixed feelings and learned so much by going back and the decision I made definitely isn’t right for everyone, but it was right for me.I had the luxury of a slow transition, starting with daycare 1 day a week then slowly grew to 2, then 3 and then (and still now) 4 days a week. I aim to keep Fridays as a “mommy & me day” and we both look forward to it every week.These are my 5 truest truths about returning to work:
These are a family favourite for us and a recipe that has been handed down throughout my extended family. They are a great option for baking with little helpers as they don't require the oven!
INGREDIENTS2 cup rolled oats1 cup shredded coconut1/2 cup butter2 cup white sugar1/2 cup white milk1/4 cup cocoa powder (unsweetened)
- Combine oats, coconut & cocoa powder in a bowl
- In a pot, bring milk to a boil and stir in butter & sugar
- Remove from heat and stir in the bowl of dry ingredients (oats, coconut & cocoa)
- Lay parchment paper (wax paper) onto a baking sheet or cooling rack
- Scoop desired size spoonfuls of the mixture onto the paper
- Leave to sit until cool - usually ready after about 2 hours
Hi love, and thanks for checking this out!
This is new, and something I've been toying with for quite sometime. To be honest, the only thing ever holding me back was myself. The world of social media can be an addicting, altered and intimidating place. That being said, it can also be a place of resources, stories that make you feel a little less alone and a great space to get to know others near or far!
When I first had Avery I was pretty well the first of my friends and the first in my family with a baby since my mom had me - crazy right!? This is when I truly found how helpful this space can be. It is a community of people who may live such different lives but hold something in common. With having gone through the whole new mama thing in this day and age, I obviously had questions, concerns, wanted opinions, advice etc. And with my amazing squad of friends following closely behind on the mama train, I have always shared along the way products, advice, tips and tricks that worked for Avery and I. This is when it clicked, these things may help others out there too - so this is my outlet to share!
My highs, lows, returning to work & daily reality all in one place!
One of my favourite nightly rituals once I have Avery asleep and I can focus on myself again is to run a hot bath, light a candle and relax. Avery gets a nightly bath as part of her nightly routine so why can't I? Here's what I use to make it happen.
I have never been one for overbearing or "fake" scents. The strong ones usually result in a pretty good headache so it isn't worth it. I received the Saje Wellness "Cellucleanse" bath salts as a gift this year and fell in love! They do have a scent, one that I would say is pretty strong as well but you can instantly tell it is a natural essential oil, soothing smell. I don't find it to be overbearing or too much, it's actually quite relaxing. The salts create a bit of an oil feel in the water and it is meant to tighten and firm the skin.
I usually turn out the lights, spark a candle in a very neutral scent as the oils do take over and I'm not one to mix. I am currently loving the Voluspa "Nissho-Soleil" scent. Just don't get too relaxed that you forget to blow it out when you're done!
A fall favourite in my house is a warm apple crisp. We do an annual Apple Picking Appreciation Event with my City Mortgage Group and we always end up coming home with a big bag of delicious, family farm grown apples that are perfect for baking.
7 apples, peeled and sliced
2 tsp white sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white flour
3/4 cup rolled oats
1 cup melted butter
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Combine apples, white sugar & cinnamon in a bowl and pour into lightly greased baking dish
- Mix togehter brown sugar, flour & oats in a separate bowl
- Pour melted butter over the mixture and stir until evenly coated
- Add mixture to top of apples in baking dish, lightly patting it down until entire top is covered thinly
- Bake until golden brown - about 40 minutes
Okay so some people think it's crazy to travel with a little one as it's so much work and they won't remember the trip anyways but to me it's all about living in the moment and realizing that though she may not remember the travels she is having a blast in the moment! Here are my best travel tips for travels with a toddler:
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE EXTRA LUGGAGE - When traveling with a child over 2, you likely have to buy an extra seat for them which means that they get a piece of luggage. My best advice would be to take that piece available, use a full size suitcase and take advantage.This also means that they will get a carry on piece as well. Use this for easy, and quiet toys that don't have a million pieces or make a mess to distract on the drive, the plane or along the way.
BUY SUPPLIES THERE - Depending on where you are traveling, buy diapers & wipes there. This cuts down on the whole guessing game on how many you need as well as the room in luggage to store them - plus, what if your luggage doesn't arrive? Fill the carry on with the supplies you need to get there + 1 day to buy yourself time once you land.
TAKE STAPLE MEDICINE- Again, depending on where you are going there may not be brands you are familiar with. I always like to travel with the staples that I know work for Avery, I have given in the past and am familiar with the dosage just so you don't have to deal with new brands, language barriers or different ingredients.
HAVE A CHANGE EMERGENCY KIT READY - Especially on an airplane, I always put in my carry on a large ziploc that holds an extra full change of clothes & wipes as if you need to make a change from a spill or accident you don't want to have to juggle into an airplane bathroom with a messy toddler and pick pieces you need from a carry on to use and carry to the bathroom.
PRE PLAN SLEEPING ARRANGEMENTS- If you can, try and simulate home. Whether that means a pack-n-play, crib, bed rails etc. try and keep it consistent. Many hotels, resorts etc. have these supplies handy and for rental properties such as an AirBnB there are often rental companies that can supply things for you.
DON'T STRESS OVER SCHEDULE - Try and take it one day at a time, this is where personally I struggle the most. You are away from home so their schedule will already be altered so try and make the most of your time away. When they are hungry, they will eat and when they are tired, they will sleep.
READ THE REVIEWS - If you are going somewhere that has kid sections, activities etc. then read the reviews. Likely those who have been there before will give a heads up for other parents on what they've experienced!
So other moms may be able to relate to this but honestly when morning comes and I finally put two feet back on the floor, it is go time!
A key part of my morning is the night before prep. This is when I pack Avery's bag for school, making sure there is a clean outfit, change of shoes, weather appropriate options and her water container. This gets setup on our front bench with her coat and shoes for the morning so that we are as efficient as possible.
My own alarm is set for 7am - some mornings I get 30 mins to myself (which is magical) to shower and get ready but some days she is up same time or before my alarm which puts an interesting spin on the morning. When I have the 30 mins to myself I feel like I could conquer the world - a peaceful shower, pick an outfit, blowdry & makeup all with being the only person in my bathroom! I then get her up at 7:30am, get her dressed, hair tackled, teeth brushed, grab a yogurt and her backpack and we're on our way - keep in mind she's almost 3 so it's never actually that smooth but in 30 minutes we can usually get out of the house with at least 95% of that complete.
On the mornings when she is up with me or before me, I have a partner in crime. Which sometimes means someone is in my bed watching the latest Paw Patrol while I shower etc. and other days means she doesn't want to be put down. Those days are my hair up and get out quick days.
Most days we can get out of the house by 8:00am which gets me to drop off for about 8:10am so she has breakfast with her friends and I head out for my day at the office.
The first thing one parent asks another after having a baby is "how are you sleeping?" and for me, my sleep is necessary as I don't function well unless I get it. Now don't get me wrong, we had our sleepless nights but at 4 months old we started sleep training Avery. Now, this method isn't for everyone and you should always go with your mom gut and listen to your instincts but this is what worked for me.
It started with naps. For the first few months she would only nap if she was in my arms. If I put her in her crib, bassinet, swing anything she would wake up within minutes and the nap would be over. Around the 4 month mark I started noticing timing habits with her naps, certain times of the day and for common lengths of time. At this point she would be up in the morning around 7am, and would be looking for her first nap around 9:30am. So, the day we decided to do this I was prepared for 9:30am. I fed her, put her in her crib, turned on her sound soother and left the room. I raced back to the monitor to watch the magic but it was everything but magic. She moved around wiggling for a few minutes and then cue the tears. And not normal tears but overtired, confused "where is my mom" tears which was heart breaking. She cried through the entire 1.5 hour nap and every 10 minutes myself or Mike would go in, place our hand firmly on her tummy to let her know we were there but then leave the room again. We did 2 naps of this and by the 3rd she fell asleep by herself within 25 minutes and stayed asleep for the hour. Her nap schedule then became the following:
7:00am - wakeup
9:30-11:00am - nap
1:30-3pm - nap
5:30-6pm - nap
8:00 - bedtime
The through the night training was a much different battle. It is a very hard thing to listen to your baby cry through the night and when you are woken from a deep sleep, 5 minutes feels like 3 hours. I knew it was time for this when her night feeds became very scattered and sometimes she wouldn't even really eat - just soothe herself back to sleep. What I'm going to say next may not be the norm for this method and let me tell you it wasn't easy BUT ... it took 1 night! I very long, very stressful and upsetting night where both of us cried many tears. Every couple hours she would wake up and cry for me so we stuck to the every 10 minutes, hand on belly for reassurance but no picking up, cuddling, feeding etc. just a calm voice and a hand. She woke up 3-4 time that night and this was the routine until she put herself back to sleep and from that night on unless she was sick, sleeping away from home or dealing with a time change we all had great night sleeps!
The overnight always seems to be the hardest with moms - it's what everyone strives for but there are many different ways to get there. Follow your heart and listen to what's best for you and your baby as in the end, that's all that matters!